March 1, 2015

Review: Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Publish Date: February 10th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 4.5 / 5
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The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

First Thoughts

With all the hype surrounding Red Queen, it's difficult to read the book without ultra high expectations. When you hear of that infamous betrayal chapter, it's natural to treat every character in Red Queen with caution and distrust because, as it's mentioned many times:
"Anyone can betray anyone."
Even knowing all of the above and being able to predict a few plot twists, Red Queen still caught me off guard and surprised me so many times.

Victoria Aveyard's storytelling amazed me-- I enjoyed the twisting and turning plot she wove, the sympathetic characters I grew to care for, and the emotions I felt with each short-lived victory, stab in the back, or play for power.

What I Enjoyed

Each character was likable. Mare was a fantastic heroine. She put herself in danger for her family and friends, joining the rebel cause to bring justice to her fellow Reds. Kilorn was like Katniss' Gale, wanting to fight for the people when all Mare wanted to do was keep him safe. Cal just wanted to do what he thought was best for his kingdom, and his decisions, no matter how aggravating they were, were understandable. Maven was the forgotten prince, always overlooked in his brother's shadow. Like it or not, I understood his actions as well.

The abilities of the Silvers. Manipulators of fire, water, plants, and weather. Telekinesis, mind manipulation, healing abilities, etc. Each ability was intriguing, especially when used against one another in the arenas.

The betrayal. Because I had known there was a plot-twisting betrayal in the book, I could smell it from a mile away. Still, I read the chapter with wide eyes and appropriate gasping in shock alternating with an occasional "oh my god".

What Could Have Been Better

Some of the world-building. I'm not going to lie, there were a few occasions during which I'd read Ms Aveyard's description of a place multiple times, but still could not come up with a confident image of what I was supposed to be visualizing. For example, the Spiral Garden in the Queenstrial scene-- I'm still not entirely sure what it's supposed to look like.

Memorable Quotes

I don't understand at all. I don't belong here. Julian was right. This is a game I don't understand, a game I don't know how to play. I wish Julian were here now, to explain, to help, to save me. But no one is coming.

That's all this ever was. Jealousy. Rivalry. All so shadow could defeat the flame.

Recommended For

Any YA reader. Red Queen has been described as a dystopian, which I could see, but I would have described it more as a fantasy. There's also a romance aspect to it-- 3 potential suitors for Mare. While reading, I couldn't help but think of Game of Thrones. Red Queen was similar in that there were many characters all vying for power.

4.5 asterisks

Happy Reading!

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